Penis billboard draws complaint

By By David Blight | 21 February 2012

A billboard ad for international theatre production Puppetry of the Penis has been complained about for using the word "penis", and for "thrusting the male genital part into the public arena".

While the ad does not have any swearing or sexualisation or nudity in it, the use of the word “penis” has led to a churchgoing Brisbane resident complaining to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).

The complaint read, “We teach our children to behave civilly and use words appropriately. This billboard offends against this dignity by thrusting the male genital part into the public arena for entertainment and laughs. It makes a mockery of parent's efforts to raise their children to respect their own and other's modesty and dignity.

“You cannot avoid seeing it from several major, arterial roads which we regularly travel and it is in the same street as a Church we attend. Since the billboard is on our route to the City, to Church and to numerous other events, we cannot avoid it without taking considerable detours. This is seriously impinging on our freedom of movement.

“It is clearly visible from places we have been invited to with our children for special events. We are reluctant to expose our children to it for that length of time, so it is affecting our freedom to participate. We would like it to be removed.”

This marks the first time the comedic show has received a complaint for its advertising since it first launched in Australia in the late 1990s.

The ASB is currently looking into the complaint.

The campaign is due to run in other cities, including Melbourne and Sydney, to coincide with the tour dates of the show.

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